Date: Thu, 26 Jan 1995 11:38:45 +0000

From: Maik Gibson llrgbson[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]READING.AC.UK

Subject: Year, ir and i[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

On Wed, 25 Jan 1995, Anton Sherwood wrote:

Eric Idle (of Monty Python's Flying Circus) pronounces "year"

more or less as /y[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]r/. This might be an example of loss of pre-r

vowel distinctions, but I prefer to take it as dissimilation of

/i/ from /y/, since I haven't caught him doing it in other /ir/ words.

I can't remember precisely, but I hadn't noticed Eric Idle pronouncing

/r/ in year, unless it was before a following vowel, but yes, "year" is

the least stable of the /i[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]/ (=ir) set in Engalnd. But I also hear many


words becoming e[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]/e:, (a different vowel from that in the case of

"year") such as career, and "ear" becoming the same as

"air". I've heard this from otherwise RP newsreaders.

New Zealand has mainly lost the i[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]~e[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

distinction, and other accents have have been losing i[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] in different ways

From what people have said as yet, the phenomenon with /ur/ in the USA

Status: R

seems to focus on areas which were at some time r-less.

Maik Gibson

University of Reading, UK